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  Today  NBC  March 16, 2017 7:11am-7:17am PDT

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be in the hot seat on monday as he testifies before congress. >> gabe, thank you very much. russian hacking and the wiretapping claims, some of the topics we discussed exclusively with the u.n. ambassador, nikki haley. her first interview in that role. we begin by talking about the president's travel ban, a couple hours before it was blocked by a federal judge. during the campaign, you strongstrong ly objected to a muslim ban. you said it defies everything this country is based on. and it's just wrong. now, we have the second version of this travel ban, being pushed by the white house. do you support it? >> yes. >> why do you support it now? >> it's not a muslim ban. i don't think we should ban someone batesed on religion. that is un-american. what the president is doing -- everyone needs to realize that what he's doing is saying, let's take a step back.
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let's temporarily pause. >> let's pause immigration from majority muslim countries? >> no, matt. he's saying let's temporarily pause and you prove to me that the vetting is okay, that i can trust these people coming through for the american people. >> as the daughter of indian immigrants, what do you say to others who worry they won't be allowed in this country when they have every right to come to this country? or people who are worried they will be sent out of this country? >> i can tell you, as the daughter of indian immigrants, i'm sensitive that the fabric of america is immigrants. i want that to always be the case. but the countries in question, have serious terrorist activity going on. >> now, we're hearing there's going to be a dramatic cut in funding for the state department. some of that money is going to come out of the money you need to do things that you do at the united nations. do you have a plan in place to make due without that money? >> yes. i'll tell you, it's okay.
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i know when we got to the u.s. mission, the first thing we did was cut out all of the overtime. there was too much overtime. you look at the united nations. the secretary general is new, just like i am. and we both have come together on the efficiencies that are needed in peacekeeping reform, which we spend a ton of money on. and we've come together on management reform. you look at the things they're cutting, there's ways to cut and keep value in the u.n. >> that's going to cut to the bone. you talk about peacekeeping. some of that money goes to peacekeeping mission. humanitarian aid to impoverished nations of the world. talking about vaccine programs. these are the ways that the united states has expressed its leadership in the past. even if you cut back, there's going to be some sort of a vacuum left behind. and are you worried at all that a country like russia or a country like china, will attempt to fill that vacuum in terms of leadership around the world? >> we need russia to step up and pay more. we need other countries to step
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up and pay more. we've carried the burden for a really long time. i must condemn the aggressive actions of russia. >> you said tough things about russia. do you think that president trump has a bit of a mind spot when it comes to russia and vladimir putin? >> i think he's very open-minded about working with everyone. he doesn't want to cut anyone off. what he's allowed me to do, when i see something wrong, i called him out on that. at the same time, if i see an opportunity to work on something with them, like we do with isis, we're going to try to do that. >> take your ambassador's hat off for a second. as a citizen, do you have any questions about the relationship between donald trump, his associates and the russians? >> i really don't. and i'll tell you why. i've talked to him about it. while they know of people, you have to look at the fact that ambassadors jobs are to talk to everyone. that's what we've seen the russian ambassador do.
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at the same time, he's not once told me not to slam russia. he's not once told me be nice to russia. he's letting me do my job. >> we know that the russians were behind the hack of yahoo! behind the hack of the dnc. they were meddling in our election. what should the president do? >> take it seriously. we should never trust russia. >> that's take it seriously? what else should he do? >> we don't want anyone meddling in our elections. we have to find out how involved they were. and we should never be okay with that. >> should we increase sanctions? >> when we see the facts, we should have some sort of action that we should take in response to it. >> you would say you and the president are on the same page in terms of your level of distrust for russia and vladimir putin? >> i would not say that. i'm not going to talk about where the president is because i don't know. i have always made it very clear from my confirmation and in the words that i said at the u.n., i don't trust russia.
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>> there's been an awful lot of talk, ambassador haley, about the president's tone. and after his speech to a joint session of congress, you complimented him. you said, the tone was right on that. it was a different tone. it was presidential. four days later, president trump tweeted out and accused his predecessor, president obama, of wiretapping his phones at trump tower. was that presidential? >> i'm not going to comment on any of that. what i will tell you is, his address to congress was the tone was spot-on. it was presidential. >> but it was a speech in a teleprompter. and yet, left to his own devices and back with his cell phone on a saturday morning, he's goes to accusing the former president of committing a crime and presents no evidence. is that presidential? >> i'm not going to say that -- he is our president, matt. and so, what he does, faults and all, he's our president. and so, i want him to be
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successful. when these tweets come out -- do i look at them and say, okay, where did that come from? yes. bu i